Purple Top Turnips: The Perfect Addition to Your Food Plot

If you’re looking for a highly nutritious food plot species that is also widely planted, look no further than Purple Top Turnips. These turnips, part of the Brassica family, are known for their rapid cool season growth and high yields. Alongside radish, kale, rutabaga, rapeseed, and broccoli, turnips are a cool season annual that thrives during cooler periods of the year.

Purple Top Turnips for Food Plots

With their abundance of available protein and high digestibility, turnips are an incredible food plot plant. They can produce a whopping 6-8 tons of forage per acre! Even better, these turnips are not affected by light frosts, and their palatability increases as the weather gets colder. The young leaves may start off slightly bitter, but they grow sweeter with cooler temperatures, making them irresistible to deer. Deer not only enjoy the leafy green tops but also the big round roots. In fact, when all other food sources are scarce in winter, they will keep coming back for the turnip roots.

While some turnip varieties produce more leaves than roots, Purple Top Turnips are celebrated for their roots. The name “Purple Top” comes from the fact that the shoulders of the round roots stick out above the soil line and turn purple, while the below-ground root remains white. This feature is advantageous for deer, as it allows them easy access to both the tops and roots of the plants. Even when other food sources are exhausted, deer will find sustenance with the turnip roots.

Planting Purple Top Turnips is a breeze, whether you choose to grow them alone or in a mixture. They adapt well to a variety of growing conditions but prefer fertile, loamy soils with a pH range between 6.0 to 7.5. However, they do not thrive in heavy clay soils or wet and poorly drained locations, especially during establishment. For optimal germination, the minimum soil temperature should reach 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Under ideal conditions, they grow rapidly and can reach maturity in just 50-80 days. To prepare for hunting season, plant them in late summer if you’re in the north or early fall in the south.

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When it comes to seeding, the recommended broadcast rate for turnips is 10 pounds per acre. If you’re mixing them with other species, reduce the seeding rate to 2-5 pounds per acre to prevent overcrowding. Remember, turnip seeds are small, so a little bit goes a long way. Even if you’re planting them alone, it’s best not to over seed, as this can result in stunted growth. The small size of turnip seeds allows for shallow planting or even spreading them into an existing plot with minimal tillage. If you choose to broadcast seed, make sure to drag or cultipack the area after planting for good seed-to-soil contact and optimal germination.

Keep in mind that turnips are moderate to heavy feeders. If your food plot hasn’t been fertilized in a while, it’s advisable to conduct a soil test or consult with your local agricultural extension office for recommendations. Applying an all-purpose fertilizer, such as 12-12-12, at planting can be beneficial, but a soil test will provide the most accurate rate recommendations.

Purple Top Turnips for Food Plots

When it comes to food plots, Purple Top Turnips are a surefire winner. They are easy to grow and manage, making them a fantastic choice for both beginners and experienced growers. Whether you’re looking to enhance a thinning plot or just want a convenient all-in-one plant, Purple Top Turnips are the perfect solution. So, why wait? Get ready to impress deer with a bountiful feast this hunting season and throughout the winter months by planting Purple Top Turnips.

For more information on Purple Top Turnips and other food plot options, visit the Ames Farm Center. Happy planting!

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